Friday, February 22

Review: BlazBlue Central Fiction [Nintendo Switch eShop]



When I first played BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle last year it was a real eye-opener, and the first new fighting game I’d played in quite some time outside of the likes of the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat series in quite some time. I was immediately impressed by its fluid movement, relatively easy to understand base controls, and a great variety in its fighter’s styles even though they for the most part used the same moves. Now, the better part of a year later, and having seen some other impressive entries on Switch, we have Central Fiction, a more content-packed iteration that continues to leverage the strength of its predecessor.


As previously while you can generally figure out many of the core basics by simply experimenting a bit a walk through the tutorial is useful, especially as it will point out many of the nuances of what is going on with your various gauges and countering techniques. The inclusion of some character-specific direction is also very useful if you’re looking to dive a bit deeper and maximize what they have to offer. Of course you could also opt to play using Stylish Mode where some of the complications will be watered down for you, in general it’s great that the game will essentially work with you either way since this should allow for players at different skill levels to better be able to enjoy playing together.


If you’re a fan of the series and have been keeping up with the general story there’s no doubt you should love the high-quality voice acting, cinematic cutscenes and hours of new content. If you’re newer to the series you’ll likely feel pretty lost but you can still marvel at the production quality and obvious care that went into it all. It’s, for the most part, thoroughly Japanese in its style, and you’ll be reading English sub-titles, but it can still be some weird fun.


While online play is supported I’d say my attempts to get matched up a few times were spotty at best, and this is a consistent problem for “smaller” online games on Switch as a whole so it isn’t terribly surprising. If you think your enjoyment of the game will hinge on great online play take this into consideration as I’d consider it hit or miss short of you having someone specific in mind you’re hoping to play with and coordinate to play against outside the game. Local play would obviously be the ideal situation though as the large roster of characters and fluid intensity of the game are great against another human.


If you’re looking for a rock solid fighting game experience that’s quite approachable and has a large roster of characters that isn’t Smash BlazBlue is very much worth checking out. The more you’d appreciate the various storylines and narrative silliness the more the package has to offer, but the best case scenario would obviously be having someone local to play with to get the most out of it. If you have last year’s Cross Tag Battle it’s a tougher call. There are some nice new characters and nuances to the fighting but I’d say unless you’re interested in the narrative content it may be a stretch. Regardless, it’s a high quality and approachable fighting game that’s a great alternative to the more well-known series out there.

Score: 8.5

Pros:
  • Looks great and plays fluidly
  • Control options and a versatile yet approachable scheme make it playable for novices as well as more veteran players
  • If you’re into somewhat odd Japanese storylines and humor it has plenty of content to work through

Cons:
  • While online play is supported my few attempts at online matchmaking weren’t terribly encouraging
  • If you don’t like reading subtitles the story won’t work for you